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And the 73rd World Health Assembly is off and running:… #WHA73
Drinking for every 'solidarity' and you'll already be trollied.
Uh oh, we've got a hitch in trying to cross to @CyrilRamaphosa #WHA73
And we're going to a short video while waiting for South Africa to connect... (Video conferencing is the new normal, they say).
China's Xi Jinping: "...Catching the world by surprise, COVID-19 has hit over 210 countries and regions … and claimed over 300,000 precious lives."
Xi "The history of human civilisation is one of fighting diseases ... the virus does not respect borders, nor is race or nationality relevant." "All along we have acted with openness and transparency."
Xi: We need to deploy medical expertise and critical supplies to where they are needed the most.
We need to move as fast as we can to curb the spread of the virus.
We need to step up information sharing.
Xi: "The WHO should lead the global response." He praises @DrTedros and WHO strongly.
Xi calls for financial and political support for @WHO. He also calls for greater support for Africa to deal with COVID-19.
'The world needs to provide more ... support for African countries.'
Xi says China has sent medical supplies to 50 African countries and AU plus five expert medical teams.
Xi - we need to improve the public health governance and establish global reserve centres of anti-epidemic supplies.
BREAKING: Xi says China supports a WHO-led "comprehensive review" into the pandemic after the health crisis has passed.
Xi says China will provide $US2 billion to help with COVID-19 response, especially in developing countries.
Well let's see how China votes on the EU/AUS resolution...
French President @EmmanuelMacron - We need a strong WHO and the WHO is us - our member states. It needs all of us. That's why France has decided to substantially increase its funding to WHO.
Macron: We need to carry out an "honest" assessment of what has worked in how the crisis has been managed.
"We need to be united, demanding and clear-headed, that is our duty." #WHA73
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in: We must share resources for developing countries, we must work together and leave no-one behind.
- we must cooperate beyond our borders on vaccines and treatments. Vaccines are public goods that must be distributed to the rest of the world.
Huge issues trying to link to South Africa.
Now we're over to Germany's Angela Merkel. "No country can solve this problem alone, we must work together." #WHA73
Merkel: COVID-19 shows that we need to do more in the area of prevention, research & strengthening health systems. WHO is the legitimate organisation for health so we should continue to improve procedures within the WHO, also look at finances to ensure it is sustainable. #WHA73
Every time Merkel speaks am reminded how stark it is that she is the last of that class of politician...
Full quote from Xi Jinping: "China supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19 after it is brought under control...this work should be based on science and professionalism, led by the WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner."
Don't they give the leaders a time-limit?!
And after a W&Peace-length speech from Barbados, we've finally connected to South Africa. @CyrilRamaphosa: "It is the poor who suffer the most, the pandemic has highlighted the dangerous and growing inequality that exists between countries and within them."
- @CyrilRamaphosa Africa affirms full support for @WHO. Africa is extremely vulnerable to the ravages of this virus and needs every support - assistance needs to include debt relief and medical supplies. #WHA73
WHO Director-General @DrTedros is now speaking. "This assembly was intended to be a moment of recognition for the incredible contribution that nurses and midwives make in every country... the pandemic has robbed us of that opportunity" #WHA73
- @DrTedros says the pandemic has only illustrated the importance of health workers, incl. nurses and midwives.
- the world has confronted several pandemics before, this is the first caused by a coronavirus. This virus is efficient, fast and fatal. #WHA73
- @DrTedros says COVID-19 'moves like a bushfire,' operating in the dark, spreading silently, and exploding if we're not ready. #WHA73
- @DrTedros: This is so much more than a health crisis. The global economy's headed for its sharpest contraction since the Great Depression. #WHA73
- @DrTedros - for all our economic, military and technological might, we have been humbled by this very small microbe. If this virus has taught us anything it is humility. Time for humility. #WHA73
- @DrTedros "WHO sounded the alarm early and we sounded it early. We notified countries, issued guidance within 10 days and issued a public health emergency on Jan 30." #WHA73
- @DrTedros "we all have lessons to learn from the pandemic, every country and every organisation must examine its response and learn from its experience." #WHA73
- @DrTedros the independent oversight ctte had today published its first report with several recommendations. In that spirit we welcome the resolution before this Assembly. #WHA73
- @DrTedros 'I will initiate an independent evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment." #WHA73
- @DrTedros " review experience gained & lessons learned & to make recommendations to improve national & global pandemic preparedness and response". #WHA73
- @DrTedros the world doesn't need another organisation, mechanism, it needs to strengthen and finance the systems it has, including WHO. #WHA73
- @DrTedros says the world has short-term amnesia on public health security which it cannot afford anymore. #WHA73
- @DrTedros says he is calling on all nations to ensure the pandemic is never repeated. He is calling for a periodic reviews of counties. #WHA73
- @DrTedros We're learning the hard way that health is not a luxury but a necessity. #WHA75
UK's @MattHancock is addressing #WHA73. "There will be lessons to learn from coronavirus, not only for the WHO but for the wider international system and for all member states. And so we support the need for a review of the global response ... AT the appropriate point."
Lots being said about US' global leadership being in disarray re Trump but it shouldn't be missed how limp the UK's response is for all it's "Global Britain" "reconnecting with our old colonial pals" post-Brexit schtick.
Australia's Health Minister @GregHuntMP says Australia's response was 'swift' and has contained outbreak to around 7k cases.
No country can deal with this alone and thank the EU for co-sponsoring the resolution.
Hunt "We are pleased to have support for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the global response." #WHA73
Hunt: "We need to learn the lessons from this pandemic and ensure we have the strongest possible global health architecture, with an enhanced ability to prevent and respond to future outbreaks." #WHA73
Hunt: "This could include an examination of whether the WHO’s mandate and powers, including around inspection." #WHA73
Sharpest language from China and Australia so far. #WHA73
United States: We support an independent review of WHO's response to the pandemic. #WHA73
US is blasting China and WHO. #WHA73
US: "We must be frank about why one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control. There was a failure but this organisation (@WHO) to obtain the information that the world needed and that failure cost many lives." #WHA73
US: "We saw that WHO failed at its core mission of information sharing and transparency when member states do not act in good faith. This cannot ever happen again. The status quo is intolerable." #WHA73
US: "WHO must change and it must become far more transparent and far more accountable. It is also critical that Taiwan participate as an observer at the WHA." #WHA73
And here's a statement from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just released on Taiwan. #WHA73
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